Cut to Black: Alice Walker, Author

For each day in the month of February, the Committee will be highlighting African-American members, both past and present, and their accomplishments. We look forward to showing the contributions and influences African-Americans have had on the industry.

Alice Walker, Author

Born February 9th, 1944, in Eatonton, Georgia, Author, and Poet Alice Walker has celebrated African American Culture throughout her successful career and life. The AASC would like to take a moment to honor and celebrate Ms. Walker’s influential work: “The Color Purple.” It had an enduring run first as a novel, was made into a celebrated motion picture, and finally became a Broadway musical.

Written in 1982, “The Color Purple” takes the reader to experience life through the eyes of Celie, a fourteen-year-old girl in 1930’s Georgia. Throughout four decades, we travel along with Celie as she carves a life for herself in the face of incest, sexism, and of course, Southern racism. Ms. Walker takes an engaging approach by telling this story through letters. Mainly from Celie to God, but also to Celie from her family and friends.

Though controversial, the book received critical acclaim in 1983. Winning both the Pulitzer and National Book Award while drawing the attention of Director Steven Spielberg. In a career-defining role as Celie, Whoopi Goldberg won audiences over with her phenomenal performance. Featuring a cast of Danny Glover, Margaret Avery, Adolph Caesar, Rae Dawn Chong, and newcomer Oprah Winfrey.

Released in 1985 and filmed on location in North Carolina, the movie was a box office success, grossing $142 million against a budget of $15 million. The film received 23 nominations and won 14 awards. Including a Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award, and National Board of Review accolades for Ms. Goldberg. “The Color Purple: The Musical” opened on Broadway in 2005 and won two Tony Awards. The play is currently running internationally, with a film adaptation of The Musical scheduled for release in 2023.

Ms. Walker graced African American Culture with a modern classic in “The Color Purple.” And we are grateful for it.